Women Slower to Recover From Knee Surgery

Osteoarthritis may also impede return to function, research shows

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MONDAY, July 16, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Women have a more difficult time recovering from knee surgery in the short term than men, according to a new study.

Researchers reporting at the annual meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, this weekend also noted that people with osteoarthritis have a tougher time recovering from knee surgery during the first year after the procedure.

These factors are different from those that affect long-term recovery, such as tear size, amount of tissue removed, advanced patient age and obesity.

In the study, Yale University medical student Peter Fabricant and colleagues studied 126 patients who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery.

"We couldn't find anything in the literature to predict recovery during the first year," said Fabricant in a prepared statement. "Physicians need to be able to discuss with patients how long it might be before they can return to optimal function levels in work and activities of daily living."

The researchers noted that osteoarthritis may be a marker for worse overall knee function and suggested that patients with severe osteoarthritis should not have knee surgery because of the cartilage and soft tissue they have already lost.

The investigators could not explain how gender complicates recovery, except to note that gender might affect the way in which the original injury occurred. Women in the study reported more knee pain and decreased function prior to the surgery than men.

More information

To learn more about osteoarthritis, visit the U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

SOURCE: American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, news release, July 14, 2007

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